India-Pakistan: Something Pakistan Is Infamous For


October 4, 2010: Reports of Taliban attackers burning trucks loaded with NATO supplies are often just a deception. The cargoes, whether they be fuel or equipment, are often stolen. The vehicle is then burned, police investigators bribed, and an attempt made to convince NATO that it's all the Taliban's (or other unruly tribesman's) fault. NATO is pretty fed up with this, and hustling to shift supply movements to Central Asian and Caucasus railroads. The thievery and corruption in Pakistan is difficult to deal with, and the politicians there are uncooperative. The local economy is a mess because of the corruption, and no one is really in charge. Every decade or so the military takes over, officially in protest to the corrupt elected officials, but mainly to let the more disciplined, but still corrupt, generals plunder the country for a while.

Moving trucked cargo in and out of Afghanistan is a big business in Pakistan, and a lot of money is involved. Normally, all the people who could interfere are bribed and the trucks roll unimpeded. But, from time to time there are squabbles over which tribe or warlord should get paid what to allow the trucks to pass. That's when attacks on the trucks begin. Currently, the excuse is the deaths of three Pakistani troops last week. The Pakistanis were killed when they fired on U.S. helicopter gunships crossing the border to attack a large group of Islamic terrorists who had earlier attacked a base inside Afghanistan. The Pakistanis are very sensitive about foreign troops operating inside Pakistan. As for attacks being made inside Afghanistan by gunmen based in Pakistan, that's not a big deal. Also ignored by the Pakistani government (and media) are the frequent incidents where Pakistani border guards and troops fire across the border at Afghan or NATO troops. This usually results in a vigorous firefight which, inevitably, the Pakistanis lose. The firing stops as the Pakistanis slink away, and the Pakistani government insists it didn't happen. As far as the U.S. is concerned, they have a deal with Pakistan that allows "hot pursuit" of Taliban across the border into Pakistan. The Pakistani government has largely upheld that deal. But shooting back at Pakistani troops who fired on a helicopter is considered, by the Pakistanis, to be a violation, and not to be tolerated. So in protest, about a third of NATO supplies are being held up at the border. This has been going on for nearly five days. This sort of thing simply gives the U.S. even more incentive to shift supply shipments to the Central Asian and Caucasus routes. It also means the U.S. will delay, or even block, arms shipments to the Pakistani military and put more heat on the Pakistani government to crack down on thefts of economic aid. What we have here is a "lost-lose" situation, something Pakistan is infamous for.

The U.S. is also mad at Pakistani for ISI's (the Pakistani CIA) continued support for the Waziristan based Haqqani network. This outfit is an Afghan Islamic terror group that goes back to the 1980s. Briefly allied with the Taliban in the 1990s, the Haqqani network sought sanctuary in Pakistan after 2001, where ISI became its patron. Since September 11, 2001, the Haqqani network has been an ISI weapon against expanding Indian influence in Afghanistan. This is a popular theme in Pakistan, which considers Afghanistan a client state, that must be protected from Indian temptation and subversion. The U.S. and Afghan governments are angry at the continued Haqqani network attacks, which kill foreign troops and lots of Afghans. Pakistan denies everything.

Al Qaeda is reported to be planning Mumbai type attacks (ten or so suicide attackers armed with machine-guns, explosives and grenades, attacking crowded urban areas and attempting to kill as many civilians as possible and blow stuff up) in Europe, using the long rumored "Western looking" Moslems that have been trained in camps inside Pakistan. This plan was largely picked up from Internet and other sources of "chatter" in the terrorist community, plus a recently captured terrorist operative. The more likely source of the chatter is the sharp increase in CIA missile attacks inside Waziristan (and adjacent areas) in the last month. The CIA runs the intelligence collection, and armed UAV operations, in this area, and apparently the intel have been getting much better. This is partly because the Pakistani Army has shut down many terrorist camps (and killed many of the inhabitants) in the last year, and the only sanctuary the terrorists have left is North Waziristan (4,700 square kilometers, and 365,000 people). The U.S. Air Force has lent some of its Afghan based UAVs to the CIA and, last month, the number of missile attacks in North Waziristan doubled (to about five a week). This killed over 120 Islamic terrorists, including upper and middle management (always the primary target.) Most of the attacks were against the Haqqani network, but there was also an increase in missiles fired at Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.  The terrorist groups are desperate to halt or diminish these "decapitation" (identifying and attacking terrorist leader) operations. And nothing distracts the West more than a good terrorist attack rumor.

India's communist rebel movement (the Maoists) is splintering, and this is hurting the rebels in several ways. Most obviously, the factions fight each other. This limits their violence against businesses and government agencies. But the factions also inform on each other, making it easier for the police to shut down Maoist units.

October 2, 2010:  For the second time in the last 24 hours, Osama bin Laden released an audio take criticizing Moslem nations for not doing enough to provide relief for the millions of Pakistanis injured or made homeless by the recent floods. That aid has not been forthcoming because the Pakistani government was unable to guarantee that much of the aid would not be stolen, as it blatantly was after the earthquakes that hit the northern part of Pakistan five years ago. Bin Laden also castigated the Pakistan government over the corruption and theft. That's always been the main complaint of al Qaeda. Corruption is also a problem within al Qaeda and the Taliban, but discussing that openly is not part of the terrorist agenda.

September 29, 2010: On the border between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistani troops spent most of the night firing at Indian troops guarding the border. Despite a ceasefire agreement, this happens quite regularly, and the Pakistani government ignores Indian protests. The firing is usually to distract Indian border guards while Islamic terrorists, based in Pakistan try to sneak across. But sometimes it is for no apparent reason at all.






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